What to Do with Leftover Cooking Oil
Picture this. You wake up on a lazy Sunday morning to the inviting sounds and aroma of sizzling bacon and fresh beignets. Your partner has made you a hearty breakfast on one condition. You’re in charge of clean-up. With a full stomach and licked fingers, you start the dishes. Before long, you are faced with a dilemma. What to do with the leftover oil?
Pouring it down the drain is not an option. You know it can clog pipes and harm the environment. So, what can you do? Let’s explore the various ways to responsibly dispose of cooking oil, along with some sustainable alternatives to reduce consumption.
1. Responsible Disposal
Cooking oil is cheap, so reusing it only appeals to some. But if you’re not reusing it, then you have to put it somewhere. Pouring oil into the garbage can just doesn’t feel right. Here are a few reliable methods you can adopt to avoid an oily mess:
Contact a Waste Disposal Company: Local recycling programs or waste management services often accept used cooking oil. Many municipalities have drop-off locations, or you may find recycling initiatives in partnership with local businesses or organizations. Waste management services exist to help dispose of difficult to dispose of waste and will often come to you. Disposal companies dispose of cooking oil in the most environmentally friendly way. That’s their job.
Give it to a Restaurant: Almost any restaurant goes through a lot of cooking oil and probably has large waste disposal containers. Getting to talk to the right person might be the most difficult part, but once you have a connection, it should be smooth sailing.
Solidify and Trash: You can throw cooking oil into your trash can, but you’ll have to prepare it first. Follow these steps:
- Allow the used cooking oil to cool completely
- Pour it into a disposable container
- Alternatively, mix it with an absorbent material like kitty litter or coffee grounds.
- Once solidified, seal the container and dispose of it in the regular trash. Once solidified, seal the container and dispose of it in the regular trash.
Compost It: If you have a compost pile or access to a municipal composting program, you can compost vegetable-based cooking oil. Mix it well with other compostable materials, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, to aid in the decomposition process. If you don’t reuse it, this is a very sustainable option
2. Reusing Cooking Oil
Reusing cooking oil saves you the two most valuable resources: money and time.
If the oil is still in good condition and hasn’t been overheated or contaminated, it will work as well as new oil for future cooking.
The first thing to do is to strain out the food particles. Placing a cloth over a container is the simplest method of decontamination. Otherwise, you can buy products that are made for this purpose.
Next, you need to store it in a clean container and keep it in a cool, dark place. Oil loses its quality over time, so be mindful of the shelf life. Most cooking oil lasts for at least a year.
Note: Avoid mixing different types of oils or adding any contaminants, such as water or food particles. Labeling the jar or container can help.
3. Reducing Consumption
Responsible disposal and reuse are great if you find yourself with cooking oil and nowhere to put it. If you haven’t got a pan of oil to deal with yet, consider how you might use a little less in the first place. Here are three tips for reducing how much cooking oil you use:
Proper Measuring: Use measuring spoons or cups to accurately portion the amount of cooking oil you need for each recipe. Measuring helps avoid excessive usage and wastage. Even if you’re deep frying something, it doesn’t take a lake of oil twice its depth.
Alternative Cooking Methods: Explore alternative cooking techniques that require less oil, such as steaming, grilling, or baking. Frying is rarely essential. It’s hard to let go of the delicious taste of fried food, but these methods not only save oil but also tend to be much healthier cooking options.
Non-Stick Cookware: Invest in non-stick cookware that requires minimal oil for cooking. This helps you reduce adding in extra oil to keep food from sticking to the surface. Scraping off food stuck to a frypan and disposing of cooking oil shouldn’t be regular chores.
Fry Food Not the Planet
According to statitica.com, over 8 kilograms of edible oil are consumed per capita annually in the US. Are you disposing of the leftover cooking oil waste properly? By adopting responsible disposal methods, it is possible to use cooking oil without harming the environment. Limiting cooking oil use is also an option. The internet contains numerous tips and tricks to make delicious foods without deep frying.
So, the next time you face the dilemma of disposing of cooking oil, remember that there are answers to your problems, even if you’d rather not be doing dishes in the first place.